This Thursday on Fieldstone Common we will speak with author Christian McBurney about The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation in the Revolutionary War.
On July 29, 1778, a powerful French naval squadron sailed confidently to the entrance of Narragansett Bay. Its appearance commenced the first joint French and American campaign of the Revolutionary War. The new allies’ goal was to capture the British garrison at Newport, Rhode Island. With British resolve reeling from the striking patriot victory at Saratoga the previous autumn, this French and American effort might just end the war.
The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War unravels one of the most complex and multi-faceted events of the war, one which combined land and sea strategies and featured controversial decisions on both sides. Many prominent patriots participated, including Nathanael Greene, Marquis de Lafayette, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. Most important, while the campaign’s failure led to harsh criticism of the French in some quarters, leaders such as Greene, Lafayette, and George Washington steadfastly worked to ensure that the alliance would remain intact, knowing that the next joint operation could well succeed. Relying on in-depth research from American, French, British, and German original sources, author Christian McBurney has written the most authoritative book on this fascinating episode in American history.
CHRISTIAN M. McBURNEY, a graduate of Brown University, is a partner in a Washington, DC, law firm. He is the author of several books and articles on early Rhode Island history, including A History of Kingston, Rhode Island, 1700–1900 and British Treatment of Prisoners During the Occupation of Newport, 1776–1779.